Former Syriac Iraqi MP criticizes Christian clerics’ intervention in politics, calls for greater protection of Nineveh Plains

ERBIL, Iraq — Joseph Sliwa, former Syriac member of the Iraqi Parliament and current Deputy Head of the Bethnahrin Patriotic Union (Huyodo Bethnahrin Athroyo, HBA), has criticized the intervention of Christian clerics in politics, some of whom he says are unskilled in this area. He believes that their interference has a negative impact on the situation of Christians, especially those living in the Nineveh Plains in Iraq.

In an interview with Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper, Sliwa stated that biblical teachings separate religion from the state, a principle that has allowed for the independence of the Church and the development of healthy political processes. He emphasized that the political and security situation in Nineveh Plains is deteriorating due to conflicts between regional and Iraqi political forces, as the region is rich in resources. Sliwa called for greater protection for the area to prevent these political skirmishes from emptying the villages and cities of Nineveh Plains.

Sliwa also drew attention to the recent election law, stating that “the recent election law includes exclusion of quota seats, which are limited to two electoral districts only, which facilitates dividing seats of Chaldean–Syriac–Assyrian people in favor of Kurdish and Shiite political forces.” He called for the law to be repealed so that Christians can nominate their own representatives. He added that Christians tend to support parties that believe in a democratic, secular state with sovereignty and independence.

Sliwa stressed the importance of freedom and democracy for Christians, stating that Christians in Beth Nahrin (Mesopotamia), including Chaldeans-Syriacs-Assyrians, believe in freedoms, the state, and the law.

The absence of law and freedoms, which are the foundation of Christian upbringing, means a loss of life for them, he added.

He also stated that restricting the freedom of Christians in Iraq completely deprives them of life.